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Should we have a standard prescription chart across the NHS?

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14 April, 2014

A trial in Scotland is working on developing a new standardised prescribing and administration chart to cut out errors in prescribing wrong doses or the wrong drug by clinical staff.

The new standardised chart, designed by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and approved by doctors, pharmacists and nurses, will provide a simpler and more uniform document to be used across all hospitals and wards.

It is hoped that if the trial is successful then the chart will be rolled out nationally across Scotland.

What do you think?

  • Do you think a standard prescription chart would reduce error?
  • What are the benefits of locally designed charts?
  • What are the major causes of drug error in your trust?
  • How do you think drug errors could be reduced?


Read the report at Nursing Times.

Readers' comments (12)

  • Yes, yes, and yes standardisation is good IF it prevents wrong dose or wrong drugs. No harm in doing a pilot study. All documentation should be clear, precise, and factual but as with everything that old chestnut of human error raises its ugly head. Also, interpretation, lack of training, being rushed and overworked etc play their parts. I'm all for trying to make improvements though so can't knock it.

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  • surely all paperwork should be standardised for greater familiarity, safety and efficiency.

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  • P Rogers

    Standardisation is an essential first step towards safer drug administration. However whilst news of the multi-professional collaboration on this issue is encouraging what is really important is that use of the chart has to become a commissioning requirement anything less will fall foul if the assorted prima donna's who are happy to use professional autonomy as camouflage for blocking change.

    The next step it to minimise the scope for human error, that requires the introduction of an electronic prescription/administration record, one that only shows the nurse the drugs that are actually due at a particular time, one that is always legible which clear electronic signatures, one that offers alerts for missed meds and links to information resources to enable quick reference to side effects and interactions and also manages stock control with the pharmacy. It's not science fiction it is technology that is available and in use now. The question has to be why isn't it more wide spread?

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  • Yes its a no brainer, plain old common sense

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  • can't imagine many would disagree.

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  • Absolutely, everything should be standardised nationally, documentation, uniforms the lot! The clue's in the name National Health Service.

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  • as well as standardised care considering the tax office appears to have no difficulties in imposing its rules.

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  • Would this be like an electronic variety where I don't have to decipher script or squint my eyes to work out what's prescribed, the dose and when to give something, assuming it's the right medication for treatment ;)

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  • No variable dose medication prescription and a high number of tick boxes.
    Imagine how long it takes to write / rewrite a full chart, what it might look like, then would medics like to dispense + administer those prescriptions for a few shifts please ;)

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  • andy | 18-Apr-2014 2:19 pm

    good idea to get medics to take on the responsibility of a number of the drug rounds. I wonder how they would fare? we seem to take on more and more of their jobs although they do very few of ours.

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  • Standardised charts - yes. This one? - 12 pages?!!! Codes for non-administration hidden away on p.12. 6 pages for regular meds, but only 2 for IV fluids - those 2 won't take long to get through with a sick patient, & standard in my Scottish area is to prescribe 500ml rather than 1l bags, plus the infusion fluids to further dilute any IV antibiotics. Those 2 pages certainly won't last the 14 days the regular meds boxes expect it to.
    I guess the FY1's will be getting lots of 'mindlessly copy one drug chart across to another without thinking about actual prescriptions' experience!

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  • make it quick, make it simple!

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